Saturday, January 07, 2006
Am I A Good Friend?
The past few days I have been contemplating friendships. Not necessarily my friendships, but friendships in general.
We've all heard the expression, "You've got to be a friend to have a friend," and I believe there is some very sage advice therein. However, as believers, we do not simply want friendships for the momentary pleasures of good company, good conversation, or good times. We want, no we need, friendships that spur us on to become more Christlike.
As I reflect upon my life, I can recall specific times when my friends were God's key instruments in my spiritual journey. For instance, in junior high I was hanging out with people that were encouraging sinful behavior in my life. Thankfully, my parents recognized this and moved me to a Christian high school, where I made some friends that supported me in the things of God.
Another key time in my life were the university years. As I was being fed humanism and secular ideas in the classroom, I was very thankful for a small circle of friends that help me counteract those ideas with bible study and times of prayer.
There have been numerous people throughout the years which God has used to "direct" my spiritual path and I am truly indebted to them. Sometimes they have been soft and gentle - leading me simply by their example. Other times they have had to be very direct and almost painful in encouraging me closer to my Lord. Both methods have been needed and it is the Holy Spirit's guidance which has made them effective.
This leads me to examine myself. Am I helping my friends along the narrow road? I know part of my responsibility is to "spur one another on to love and good deeds."(Heb.10:24) And I also long to be like Paul, "gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children."(1Thess.2:7) May this new year be one rich in friendship as we encourage one another "all the more, as we see the day drawing near."(Heb.10:25)